New West Kelowna police boat better, faster, stronger

West Kelowna RCMP's newest boat will allow Mounties to do a lot more, and travel a lot quicker, on Okanagan Lake.

Const. Rohel Williams shows off West Kelowna RCMP's newest vessel.

Const. Rohel Williams shows off West Kelowna RCMP's newest vessel.

West Kelowna RCMP’s newest boat will allow Mounties to do a lot more, and travel a lot quicker, on Okanagan Lake.

Const. Rohel Williams, skipper of the new vessel, showed of some of its features in front of the West Kelowna detachment Friday.

The rigid hull inflatable boat is much lighter than the smaller Zodiac it is replacing. It’s nearly 30 feet long and can hold 14 people. The old watercraft held six.

“The hull is aluminum, the other one is fiberglass. They (use) this new technology called liquidmetal…it’s very light,” said Williams.

“You can barely feel the water when you’re on it.”

The watercraft is powered by dual 150 horsepower Yamaha fuel injectors and can achieve a top speed of nearly 100 km/h.

Williams said that will come in handy when chasing down culprits.

The old Zodiac would max out at 50 km/h, making it difficult for police to catch-up to other boats on the lake.

“There are a ton of boats out there way faster than the ones we have. They know we can’t even come close to them when they’re on the lake.

“This one may be close to (their speed).”

A Raymarine chart plotter and depth sounder will help Mounties better navigate the lake as well.

The new Zodiac is one of three rigid inflatable boats that will patrol Okanagan Lake. The other two are much smaller, contain limited technology and can only carry a few people.

The vessel being replaced will be sent to another detachment.

Williams said Mounties on the water are responsible for patrolling the lake from Summerland to Vernon. They enforce Transport Canada regulations and noise control for the City of Kelowna.

The skipper didn’t have statistics on how many noise violations have been dealt with this summer, but he mentioned this year has been much quieter than others.

The boat wasn’t supposed to make its debut on the lake until 2013; however, licensing and paperwork was completed earlier than expected and the watercraft is set to sail throughout the long weekend.

According to Kelowna RCMP Const. Kris Clark, patrol of Okanagan Lake falls under the jurisdiction of the West Kelowna detachment.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Kelowna Capital News